Syrian opposition withdraws from Geneva peace talks, demands change on ground

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People demonstrate against the Syrian regime ahead of the start of the Syrian Peace talks outside the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Reuters)

ARA News 

GENEVA – The Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) suspended its participation in the ongoing peace talks in Geneva, saying it will not return until the United Nations put pressure on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its military campaign against civilians in Syria. 

The HNC chief coordinator Riad Hijab said on Wednesday that the international community should guarantee the implementation of humanitarian needs of civilians in Syria before continuing the U.N.-led peace talks in Geneva. 

“Mr De Mistura paused the process, I believe this is a chance for the international community to put pressure on the regime and its allies to make sure they implemented the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people through releasing detainees and lifting sieges on towns and stopping aerial attacks on towns,” Hijab told a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland. 

“The HNC delegation will leave Geneva tomorrow and will not return here unless we see something on the ground,” he said. 

Chief coordinator of the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee also emphasized that any ceasefire should be preceded by a transitional initiative in Syria, without any role for President Assad.

Reporting by: Lorin Silo 

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